CHAMPAIGN — Republican members of the Champaign County Board will meet Thursday to select a new chair of their 11-member caucus.
The current chair, Alan Nudo of Champaign, resigned Saturday from the county board at the same time he withdrew as a Republican candidate for the state Senate in the 52nd District that includes Champaign and Vermilion counties.
John Jay, a nine-year veteran of the county board from Mahomet, said he'll serve as head of the GOP caucus unless "somebody else wants to step up, and the caucus would rather have them.
"It's not a done deal at this point. I was asked and I said yes, but we need to do that as a body."
Jay recently stepped down as chief of the Cornbelt Fire Protection District and said he has more time to devote to the county board.
"I will make an effort to spend a little time over there, if the caucus wants me. But I don't have Al Nudo's abilities and I won't be an Al Nudo," he said.
Jay said he and Jon Schroeder, caucus vice chair, plan to meet with Nudo and ask him to reconsider.
"Everybody's still kind of stunned. None of us was prepared for this," he said. "I've been told by several people that it's a done deal. He's out, he's done. But I just want to make sure that he wants to get out. I'm just hoping there's a glimmer of hope that he might reconsider."
Schroeder said he too hopes Nudo reconsiders, but that he doesn't expect it to happen.
"Al does so much stuff for the county outside of the vision of our caucus that we just need to catch up and talk to him," he said.
Schroeder said he doesn't have the time to serve as head of the Republican board members.
County board Chair C. Pius Weibel, a Champaign Democrat, said he received Nudo's resignation Saturday afternoon. He said he doesn't have to formally accept the resignation for it to become official.
"There's really no acceptance of a resignation. When a person resigns, they resign," Weibel said.
In the meantime, county Republican officials are making plans to fill Nudo's District 3 seat on the county board. Habeeb Habeeb, treasurer of the local Republican Party, said he will ask those interested to let him know of their candidacy. After that, interviews will be scheduled with the elected Republican precinct committeemen in the district — he said there were fewer than 10 — who then will choose Nudo's successor.
Habeeb said the process would be completed in the next month.